The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts periodically offers special training sessions to our member agencies, which include a range of topics designed to secure the success of your organization. Below are links to materials from previous sessions.

Essential Info for Agencies

A Refresher for Old Friends and an Introduction for New Agency Staff

This training is a great introduction to everything Food Bank related for new volunteers and staff as well as a good refresher. The training covers: Food Bank structure and policies, points of contact at The Food Bank, monthly reports and more.

This training is required for new Primary Program Contacts. To fulfill this requirement you can attend the training in person, or you can watch the recording of the training and complete an online quiz. You can find links to the video recording of the training and the quiz below.

Essentials Training Slides

Essentials Training Webinar

Essentials Training Quiz

Essentials Guide

If you have any questions about this training, please reach out to agencyrelations@foodbankwma.org.

Addressing Stigma & Creating Welcoming Spaces

This workshop took place at the 2021 Agency Conference, and focused on how to address the stigma around the use of food pantries and meal sites, and create strategies for how to make a programs more welcoming and inclusive spaces for all. The slides from the presentation are linked below and share more information about food insecurity and what stigma is.

Stigma & Welcoming Spaces Presentation

Client-Centered Program Resources

These resources are based on The Food Bank’s Spring 2016 Client-Centered Programs agency discussion series. The following resources are intended to help food pantries and meal sites review their practices with their clients in mind.

Client Intake

The intake process is a client’s first experience with your program. These resources will help your program review your client intake practices, including what questions you ask, what proofs your program requires, and why.

Client Intake Agency Discussion Guide

Client Sensitivity Video

Please note: Client Sensitivity Video from Access West Michigan is “section 4” only. Section 5 (“Intake”) should not be used.

Client Choice‍

In a traditional pantry, clients are offered a pre-packed bag/box of food, which may contain many items that clients do not need or cannot use. Offering clients more choice about the foods they receive from your program is a great way to make your program more client-centered by allowing THEM to choose the foods they want and need for their families.

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Client Choice Agency Discussion Guide

Client Choice Video

Client Choice Training Recording May 2022

Client Involvement

Involving clients in your program is essential to being more client-centered in your operations. This can be done through client feedback, by involving clients as volunteers, asking them to share their stories, or even involving them in leadership-level decision-making processes. Click the following links for discussion questions and best practices to consider as you develop your own client involvement plan.

Client Feedback Discussion Questions

Client Leadership Discussion Questions

Client Stories Discussion Questions

Client Volunteers Discussion Questions

Client–Centered Program Pledge

Now that you’ve taken a look at your client intake process and explored different models for client choice and involvement, we invite you to take our Client-Centered Program Pledge. This Pledge is voluntary and non-binding, but your signature does represent an endorsement of the guiding principles presented in this document. We hope you’ll join us in committing to treating clients with dignity and respect, and seeking to keep their perspective in mind in all that you do.

Client-Centered Program Pledge

Disaster Planning

It is strongly recommended that all agencies have a Disaster Plan. The resources below are from previous trainings which share information about how to plan for disasters and how to write Disaster Plans. These trainings help you think about disasters at a local and regional level, and share questions for you to consider when creating a Disaster Plan for your agency. Completed plans can be submitted via email at agencyrelations@foodbankwma.org. If you have questions about or want support in writing your Disaster Plan, please email Valerie at valeriec@foodbankwma.org.

2021 Disaster Plan Training Recording

2021 Disaster Plan Training Food Bank COVID-19 Response Slides

2021 Disaster Plan Training Slides

2018 Disaster Plan Training Slides

Home Emergency Supply List

Agency Basic Disaster Plan

Finding Neighbors in Need

We know that there are more food insecure people in western Mass. than we are currently serving. But where are they, and why aren’t they accessing existing programs like yours?

Learn how some of your peers have reached out to find and serve more of their neighbors in need, read through some ideas from other agencies, and develop an outreach strategy of your own using the links provided below.

If you’re feeling ambitious, you could even set a goal to reach out to more people, and write down your action steps to complete a Growth Plan and earn ACE Points for your program!

Brainstorm Results from Workshop

Outreach Case Studies

Discussion Questions

Food Sourcing Training

Presentation & Resources

Fundraising for the Future (It's All About the Donor!)

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many organizations have had to completely change the way they raise funds. When in-person events are not possible, how can we continue to raise the funds needed for a program to continue to thrive? Below are resources from the 2021 Agency Conference Fundraising for the Future workshop, including slides from the presentation and a tool to help you learn more about donor fundraising.

Fundraising for the Future Workshop Slides

Donor Comparison Tool

Grant Writing Resources

Below are resources from past trainings on how to find grants, determine your eligibility, and put together a persuasive application.

Grant Writing Workshop Recording

This workshop goes over the basics of grants and give you some key insights into the standard application and submission process. The training discusses ways to find grants, determine your eligibility and put together a persuasive application. It will also discuss some common energy incentive programs to help your organization save money and energy.

Getting the Grant Presentation

Getting the Grant Handouts

Grant Writing for Beginners Presentation

Should I apply for a grant?: A question guide

Healthy Incentives Program: How to Explain and Promote HIP

HIP is a state wide program that provides extra money to SNAP recipients as a reward for purchasing local produce. This training covers: what HIP is, the details of how it works and what HIP transactions look like. It also covers the difference between HIP, SNAP, WIC & senior coupons, ideas of how to promote HIP, and more! For more information email agencyrelations@foodbankwma.org

HIP Presentation 2021 Agency Conference

Franklin, Hampden, and Hampshire County HIP Retailer Lists

Berkshire County HIP Retailer List

Contact Info for DTA and WIC

Farmers Market Programs

HIP Client FAQ

HIP Flyer

Healthy Incentives Program Presentation

HIP Scenarios

Sample Receipt

Media Outreach Communications

Learn how to write press releases and media advisories to receive media coverage for your work.

Presentation

Mission Statement Resources

With the new year upon us, now is the perfect time for a New Year’s Resolution to “Define Your Mission.” A mission statement is important for your program to have for a couple of reasons:

  • Can provide a useful “north star” to guide your program’s board, staff, and volunteers when considering projects, proposals, and actions.
    • Example, “How does this fit with our mission?‌
  • Concisely explains who you are, and what you do, to donors and funders. Many grant applications will ask you to succinctly state the mission of your program.

If your program already has a mission statement, we encourage you to revisit it. And if not, we encourage you to create one! Here are some resources to get you started…

  • “How to Write the Ultimate Non-Profit Mission Statement” from The Balance.com explains why having a mission statement is important and provides a few tips and best practices to help you craft one for your organization.
  • “How to Write a Mission Statement for a Non-Profit Organization” from WikiHow gives a step-by-step process for writing a mission statement for your program.

If you’re feeling stuck, please feel free to reach out to the Agency Relations team here at The Food Bank at agencyrelations@foodbankwma.org.

Nutritional Nudges

Nutritional Nudges are easy ways to make simple changes to your pantry or meal site environment, which encourage clients to make healthier choices. Many of these techniques are low- or event no-cost! This training explains some basic concepts of Nutritional Nudges, and how you can implement them at your site.

The Power of Nudges

Online Ordering

This training is designed to walk you through how to place an order online, as well as address common mistakes and issues you might face while placing an order.

This training is required for new Primary Program Contacts. To fulfill this requirement you can attend the training in person, or you can watch the recording of the training and complete an online quiz. You can find links to the video recording of the training and the quiz below.

Online Ordering Training Recording

Online Ordering Quiz

Planning for Growth

Are you thinking about ways your agency can grow and build capacity? Use the links below to find out more information about what Program Goals are, how they might be useful to your agency, and how to get started on your Program Goals plan.

Tip: This will work best if you have someone from your program to bounce ideas off. We recommend grabbing a friend or two from your program (or another program, or from The Food Bank! – our staff would be happy to work through this discussion with you), and get ready for a great conversation and some great ideas to help your program grow.

Planning for Growth Presentation

Brainstorming Worksheet

Program Goals Plan 2021

Smart Goal Worksheet

Promoting Food Resources

The MA Attorney General’s Office and the four regional MA food banks held two convenings on overcoming barriers to access for vulnerable communities, and how to help guests maximize the federal and state benefits for which they are eligible. The slides below have lots of information about maximizing benefits, including how to access informational materials to share with people who come to your food pantry or meal site.

Promoting Food Resources Slides

Retail Pickup Basics

The following information is targeted towards agencies who are enrolled in our “Enabled Agency” program – that is, those who pick up food from a retailer (or wholesaler, or farm) that they were connected to via The Food Bank, and then report pounds received from that retailer back to The Food Bank.

The Food Bank has a robust retail/enabled agency program in each of the Western Massachusetts counties we serve. Retail partners include big box stores like Wal Mart and Target, as well local supermarket donors, such as Big Y and Stop and Shop. We also maintain relationships with wholesalers and the local farming community, who regularly donate food directly to our member agencies. The retail donation channel provides over two million pounds of food to enabled agencies every year.

If you have any questions about the Enabled Agency program or feedback about how the program is working for your agency, please contact Brandie Taggart, our Food Procurement Coordinator, at brandiet@foodbankwma.org, or by phone at (413) 203-4798.

Enabled Agency Program

Good Samaritan Food Donation Act

Legal Fact Sheet for Massachusetts Food Donation

Security 101

Our personal information has never been so exposed. Learn to keep your program’s staff, volunteers, and participants’ information safe and secure with this training on information security basics.

Written Information Security (WISP-1)

Information Security Policy (WISP (2)

Acceptable Use Policy (WISP-3)

Business Continuity & Disaster Recovery Policy (WISP-4)

Incident Response Policy (WISP-5)

Vendor Management Program Template (WISP-6)

Security Awareness Training Policy (WISP -7)

Information Security Resources

2019 Security Nuts & Bolts: What Does it Matter to Me?

Social Media 101

Helpful links to make the most of your Facebook page:

Presentation

How to Set Up a Facebook page

Anatomy of a Perfect Facebook Post

10 Facebook Best Practices for Nonprofits

50 Ways to Increase Your Facebook Page Likes

Spread the Health: Nutrition Basics for Pantries and Meal Sites

In this training you’ll learn about healthy eating using the MyPlate model, what to look for when reading a nutrition label, tips for moderating sugar and salt, and more! Our hope is that you’ll share this information with your clients to help them make healthier choices with the foods they choose at the grocery store… and maybe they’ll try a box or two of whole wheat pasta from your pantry, as well.

Presentation

Making Common Pantry Products Healthier

Food Allergies

Nutrient Recommendations

Sugar Substitutes

Website Resources Handout

USDA and You!

USDA food is an abundant source of nutritious food that is free of any charges and is available to all Emergency Programs. It also comes with a lot of requirements… and a lot of paperwork. We know, it can be confusing! Contact agencyrelations@foodbankwma.org for more information.

This training will help you make sense of it all! We’ll explain the rules around:

  • Storage
  • Signage
  • Sign-in sheets
  • Reconciliation forms
  • Income requirements
  • … And more!

Be sure to read through this presentation with your Essentials Guide handy. Don’t have one, or don’t know what that is? Email the Agency Relations team at agencyrelations@foodbankwma.org to get your copy!

Essentials Guide

USDA Reconciliation Form Exercise

USDA Sold/Exchanged Sign

USDA Training Slides

USDA Training Video December 2021

USDA Training Quiz

Volunteer Handbooks

This workshop covers why Volunteer Handbooks are important and the basics of how to write one. The training touches on how to organize your handbook to make it clear and understandable and important policies and procedures to include.

Volunteer Handbook Training Recording

Volunteer Handbook Training Slides

Amherst Survival Center Volunteer Handbook 2019-2020

Volunteer Management Basics

Volunteer retention and recruitment strategies are linked in many ways. Just as a sturdy house depends heavily on a solid foundation, the likelihood of attracting invested, long-term volunteers depends on the steps taken to recruit them. Retention is also greatly impacted by the experience a volunteer has while at your organization.

If you can maintain a long-term corps of volunteers, your program can get more done for less money and increase your organization’s overall visibility.

  • This training, presented by the Massachusetts Service Alliance will:
  • Review steps non-profits can take to ensure they are recruiting the right individuals for the right volunteer roles and helping to set volunteers up for long-term success.
  • Review strategies to create a positive volunteer experience from beginning to end.
  • Discuss current trends in volunteerism that impact both recruitment and retention of volunteers.

Developing a Recruitment Strategy

Social Motivators for Volunteers

Training and Orientation Worksheet

Keeping Them Coming: Strategies to Find & Retain High Quality Volunteers

Volunteer Position Description Worksheet

For further resources on volunteer management and developing a rewarding, engaging, and effective volunteer program, please see the links below, compiled from the Massachusetts Service Alliance by workshop panelist and experienced Volunteer Coordinator Pat Sicard of RSVP of Hampshire and Franklin Counties:

Creating a Targeted Recruitment Message

Intake Techniques for Long Term Volunteer Engagement

Obtaining Staff Acceptance & Support for Your Volunteer Program

Assessing your Volunteer Program

For further information and more helpful tip sheets, Pat recommends visiting the Mass. Service Alliance website.

Lastly, we hope you’ll use the following Action Plan worksheet to help you develop any ideas you may have regarding changes to your volunteer program. You can find a blank copy of the action plan here:

Action Plan